I She Shix Fissiesh Shwim By A Shtarfiss.

Under the sea

There’s a particular speech issue Sassy has had since she could talk. It’s an adorable inability to pronounce the “sh” sound. So every word with “sh” in it has a simple “s” sound.

fish becomes fiss
wish becomes wiss
dish becomes diss
sure becomes ssure

Some people advised me to take her to speech therapy to fix it right away.

As an unschooler, that goes against my grain. If something isn’t a problem for her, then I’m not going to take her in to get “fixed” just because it’s a problem for someone else. Especially in the early years, when I want her to be confident and fearless and NOT worrying about saying things the ‘right’ way or the ‘wrong’ way. So, the speech therapy never happened, and for 6 years she went merrily on her way–totally unaware of the role the sound “sh” plays in words. We all cherished (or, cherissed) her word pronounciation, even if sometimes we couldn’t understand what she was saying.

This past week we got out Python Path, Word-Ending Gamewhich we haven’t played in a while.

One of the word endings was -ash. So I helped her sound it out by saying, “See this “S-H”? That makes a “shhhhh” sound. She copied the sound, which was the first time I knew she could. “When you put the ‘a’ in front of it, it says, “ash”. She repeated it. Then I said, if this didn’t have the “h” on the end, it would make the “sssssssss” sound. So when you put the ‘a’ in front of it, it says, “ass”. She repeated it, and then started laughing. “You said ‘ass!'”

Ever since then, she’s put two and two together and is starting to differentiate between the ‘s’ and ‘sh’ sound. It’s a process in flux, however, and now she sometimes assumes that everytime she says ‘s’ should actually be the ‘sh’ sound.

At the aquarium, instead of saying, “I see six fishes swim by a starfish!” she said, “I she shix fissiesh shwim by a shtarfiss!” which I found even more awesome.

Reach out

Here’s to kids, aquariums, speech impediments, celebrating childhood, and loving the unique quirks of the people around us.